Was the President in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Supposed to Be Reagan?
Part of the fun of Wonder Woman 1984 was the way it spanned the decade, from the fashion choices (Chris Pine's belt bags!) To the aesthetics (which otherwise felt like it was taking them back to their childhood shopping mall the opening?) And the hell with that soundtrack.
However, the film is also explicitly set in the period defined by the man who served as President of the United States at the time - Ronald Reagan. And it shows an actual encounter with a President of the United States. But is the president featured in Wonder Woman 1984 supposed to be the one who served as the 40th IRL president?
Well, wisely, the film never really confirms things one way or another. The president is never addressed by name, and if you want to do a little bit of detective work, you're out of luck: he's just listed as POTUS in the credits. POTUS was played by Stuart Milligan who, interestingly, has a history of playing presidential characters. (He played President Richard Nixon in "Doctor Who" in 2011.)
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And Milligan doesn't officially play Reagan in the movie - that is, his mannerisms and actions don't necessarily seem to channel the former leader, and he's not trying to make a version of what anyone posing as Reagan is doing. He doesn't even really look like him except for his combed hairstyle, which is a bit lighter than Reagan's jet black.
He uses his dream stone wish to demand more nuclear weapons against the Soviets. The real Reagan famously despised arms control treaties and directed a huge arms build-up, but largely used that build-up as a strategy to force the Soviets into negotiations.
Basically there is just enough there that he could be Reagan, but there is also just enough to dissuade us from believing that the character could be influenced by him.
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Given that everything else adds up during this time, including America's Cold War entanglement and technology in the early stages of the leaps that are now defining our world, Patty Jenkins had to assume that even then she said nothing, We'd make the connection. If nothing else, we'd assume we know who he is in our own head cannons.
Because of this, she indicated earlier this year that the ambiguity was intentional. While asking questions about whether the film's antagonist Maxwell Lord is Trump based or not, Jenkins broadly denied character-specific influences. "We even have the president in this film, and I did everything I could not to make him look like Ronald Reagan," she said.
It makes sense that Jenkins would want to try to keep things as vague as possible so that people can enjoy the movie without having pre-made thoughts in the back of their minds. Unfortunately, given the film is about to be released at this point, we'll be thinking more about certain similarities than we likely would have if the movie came out than it was originally supposed to.
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It is fair and a little fitting that Wonder Woman 1984 plays with ambiguity in this way. Eventually, the film itself ends on an equivocal comment, with no real confirmation of whether or not a third film about Diana's personal adventure might take place. And sometimes it's just better not to over-explain things, especially in a superhero movie where the audience is already asking a lot of questions about whether or not they are familiar with the source material.
Read the original story Was the president supposed to be Reagan in Wonder Woman 1984? At TheWrap
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